Sweden conservatives woo far-right to topple government

Stockholm (AFP) - Sweden's main opposition party courted controversy Thursday by suggesting it accept support by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) to bring down the minority government.

Mainstream parties have so far rejected any cooperation with the SD, a party that has historic roots that go back to Sweden's neo-Nazi movement.

Neither the left nor right have had a majority in parliament since the 2014 election, meaning the right can topple the government by proposing a budget that would be adopted thanks to the far-right.

The leader of Sweden's conservative Moderates party called Thursday on its fellow centre-right opposition parties to accept the support of the SD to adopt such a budget, which would force the resignation of the Social Democrat-Green coalition government.

"On issues where there are conditions to agree on, I don't think we should refrain from talking to SD," Anna Kinberg Batra told a news conference in Stockholm.

She ruled out the formation of a coalition, however.

Budget talks are due to start in September and to last until December.

"I want us to act swiftly, before 2018," Batra said, referring to the next general elections.

According to a poll released Thursday by the daily Aftonbladet, SD is now the second largest party with 21.5 percent in support after the Social Democrats at 25.8 percent.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, leader of the Social Democrats, slammed Batra's comments, accusing her party of losing its "moral compass".

Lofven made headlines in September last year when he called SD a "racist and Nazi party" during a political debate on TV.

Two of the four parties that make up the centre-right opposition, the Liberals and the Centre party, rejected accepting support from the SD, while the Christian Democrats approved the idea.

The SD voted in favour of a budget proposal put forward by the centre-right opposition after the elections in 2014, nearly toppling the then-new Social Democrats-led coalition government.

However the centre-right retreated and eventually decided to let Social Democrats and the Greens govern.